Fiona Scott Media Consultanccy

Today (27 April 2021) is International Design Day and designer Zara Weston is sharing some tips for business owners who are considering upgrading their 'look and feel'.

Zara heads up the South West office of creative design agency Hamilton-Brown which also has its HQ in London.

"This 'day' is an opportunity to recognise the value of design and its capacity for change in the world," Zara said. "The team at Hamilton-Brown believes this is to be true and we always work holistically with a client to create an authentic design which effectively communicates their brand, ethics and purpose."

Zara said the problem with many businesses is they undervalue the worth of good design and it is often an 'after thought'. She believes great design is all about first impressions, brand confidence and it creates a shop window to a business’s product or service.

"Great design makes a business stand out and it evokes an emotional response - then that also means poor design also has a negative emotional effect. Poor design drives potential business away - people simply avoid engaging if they cannot relate to your website or brand."

Zara, who has been a design specialist for the past 15 years trained in design at Bridgwater College in Somerset as well as completing two degrees in graphic design at the University of the Arts London, has come up with 10 ways to embrace great design effectively in business.

  1. Organise - know your business and what it is you want to communicate, focus on objectives, understand your target market, consider key messages and your 'point of difference'. A lot of time and money can be saved further down the line by getting the brief right at the beginning. 
  2. Choose the right platforms - the pandemic has changed the way we communicate with staff, clients, and potential clients. Do you need a website? Do you need a more sophisticated website? Are your presentation tools up to scratch?  
  3. Security - something all businesses need to take seriously, now more than ever. Hamilton-Brown is currently going through the ISO27001 Accreditation process with a view to achieving status by end-Q3 2021. Is your business secure? 
  4. Branding - is your brand up to date? Do you have brand guidelines, and do you have the basic marketing assets to use immediately?  
  5. Design and artwork - design needs to look exceptional, creative, engaging and up to date. It can take diagrams and graphs to the next level. 
  6. Content - wording across all of your marketing should clearly tell visitors what it is you do and what your company stands for. However, it needs to do more than that. It should tell your stories both in words and through your company’s design. 
  7. Photography - invest in up-to-date photos of your team and strong product photography. 
  8. Video and animation - both engage powerfully with your target audience, grabs their attention and animation can be a cost-effective solution to video. Alternatively invest in video and if budget allows both. 
  9. Social media - helps us all to stay connected, it drives traffic and interest between your social media streams and your website. It makes your business visible and is an opportunity to organically and consistently share the design which speaks your business ethics.  
  10. Maintenance - often forgotten, until things go wrong. All websites need to be maintained in a constantly evolving digital space.  

Hamilton-Brown is a dynamic and creative design agency offering a full suite of support to ambitious companies across the UK. With offices in Bristol and London, the company was created in 2000 and has worked with businesses including BDO, Osborne Clarke, CBRE, BNP Paribas, Grant Thornton, Cushman & Wakefield, Korn Ferry, and Investec Bank.

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